Bad News: An Experiment in Computationally Assisted Performance

  • Ben Samuel
  • James Ryan
  • Adam J. Summerville
  • Michael Mateas
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10045)


Dreams of the prospect of computational narrative suggest a future of deeply interactive and personalized fictional experiences that engage our empathy. But the gulf between our current moment and that future is vast. How do we begin to bridge that divide now, both for learning more specifics of these potentials and to create experiences today that can have some of their impact on audiences? We present Bad News, a combination of theatrical performance practices, computational support, and Wizard-of-Oz interaction techniques. These allow for rich, real-time interaction with a procedurally generated world. We believe our approach could enable other research groups to explore similar territory—and the resulting experience is engaging and affecting in ways that help strengthen the case for our envisioned futures and also makes the case for trying to field such experiences today (e.g., in experimental theater or location-based entertainment contexts). Bad News is a realized game enjoyed by players with varying degrees of performance experience, and won the Innovative Game Design track of the 2016 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) Student Game Competition.


Deep simulation Live performance Emergent narrative 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben Samuel
    • 1
  • James Ryan
    • 1
  • Adam J. Summerville
    • 1
  • Michael Mateas
    • 1
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin
    • 1
  1. 1.Expressive Intelligence StudioUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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